Lumintop EDC18 Review (2800 Lumens, Triple LED, Side Switch) & 11.11 Sales

The Lumintop EDC18 is Lumintop’s newest EDC style light. It borrows very heavily from the FW3A that was designed by the BudgetLightForums but built by Lumintop. It features the same light engine, similar optic and similar ideas. Lumintop however has refined some of the qwerks of the FW3A to gear it a little more two a consumer oriented EDC market. Thanks to Banggood for sending this too me to look at and review.

A quick word that if your watching this video shortly after it’s made live, Banggood is having huge 11.11 day sales on tons of things in their store including flashlights and other goodies. I will have links in the description below to where you can find the sales and the Lumintop EDC18. 

 

Pickup the Lumintop EDC18 at Bangood for $39.90 at http://bit.ly/2MXLwjR with coupon BG18

 

Banggood 11.11 Flashlight Sales (Limited Time) http://bit.ly/32tSnpO and Main Venue Sales: http://bit.ly/36jJylo 

 

YouTube Version of this Review: 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/jiymjZR

 

Packaging

Packaging of the Lumintop EDC18 is the brown cardboard box that the FW3A had too. The outside slipcovers are different with corresponding photos of the light and the emitter on the outside. Not much detail on the outside, which makes sense. Inside ithe light is protected in form fitting white foam. The EDC18 came with a few more nice extras. It includes a lanyard, a deep carry pocket clip, magnetic tail cap, and glow in the dark silicone diffuser. 

 

Construction

The EDC18 is made from aluminium that’s anodized in a smooth eggshell black finish. Machining was good with no problems but mine did have a slight anodizing flaw on the heatsink that you can see under good lighting and then inside where the tube makes contact with the head it looks like some masking failed during anodizing. I will fix this after my review with a little sandpaper, neither are deal breakers and easy fixes. 

Starting at the tail cap, it’s flat and contains a strong magnet that can easily hold the light of the weight up in a horizontal and vertical position. There is a small hole in the back for a lanyard. Knurling on the tail cap and body are very shallow and no aggressive. I have found this type of knurling on other Lumintops to pick up and hold dirt easily. 

The clip is deep carry which is nice, it fits quite tightly but does rotate around the light. It does have a small shelf on it which I tend to not like but I have not found it to be a problem here. It’s reversible to either end of the light and at least on mine retention is good in the pocket but it’s not flush against the body when mounted at the rear of the light. I will make note that a deep carry clip is also available for the FW3A now too on NealsGadgets and I need to pick one up.

The head is where the largest differences are. Lumintop decided to give the EDC18 a little more mass in the head which is good for heat dissipation without much additional size. It’s got some milling to dissipate heat and add style. The only UI button is also found in the head. It’s a silicone button with a clear rabbit (Lumintop’s logo) and a green LED underneath, so when it’s got a battery installed it’s a glowing rabbit which is kind of cool. The switch underneath is an electronic switch and takes a decent amount of force to press. I didn’t have trouble with it in my pocket. 

The front of the head features a recessed lens with a polished aluminum flush bezel. Underneath is the bare carillo style optic. No glass lens is sitting on top like on the FW3A making this EDC “lens” more susceptible to scratching. This also isn’t a genuine Carillo optic, but instead a Chinese domestically made version. Performance wise they are very similar, it does look like mine has a slight flaw in it though. 

A quick note about the modality of the EDC18. The FW3A was a modders dream with no glue and built to change but this made the light a little finicky at times. The EDC18 takes a little different approach, it has retaining rings in the head and tail to keep parts aligned and a single piece body tube to make it more reliable. The bezel does unscrew so that you can swap out the optic, put a glow gasket in, or replace the opic with one with tritium etc. While the light is still moddable it’s less so then the FW3A.

 

Size & Weight

I measured length at 94mm, minimum diameter at the body tube at 25mm, and maximum diameter at the head at 27mm. Weight with included clip and my Sony VTC6 battery is 120.9g.

 

In comparison the FW3A in aluminum with the same battery and it’s clip it weights 98g. The FW3A is just a hair shorter and the head and tail are very similar in diameter. The biggest difference is the taper in the body on the FW3A. In my time carrying the light it makes a difference in how comfortable it is.  

LED/Beamshots/Runtime

My example of the EDC18 is using the Nichia 219C LED’s in about 4000k. For me this is one of my favorite LED’s and tint’s. It’s high CRI,  and just a slightly warm neutral color. That said it’s a “hot” LED and doesn’t produce as many lumens as the other LED’s being offered. The other choices available are SST20, Cree XP-L HI in Neutral White or Cool white. If your looking for all of the 2800 lumens here, go with one of the Cree emitters. For me I will happily trade a little performance for that preferred tint.

The beam here is nice and useful for EDC, it’s a fairly diffused light, not a thrower, and what we would expect from a Carclo style optic. 

Runtime on the EDC18 was very similar to the FW3A which makes since because it’s basically the same emitter engine. I did 2 runtime tests, the first being just showing the first 4 minutes in the highest output mode and as you can see this light heats up super fast and almost immediately starts to reduce it’s output. By about 4 minutes the light is stable and it runs here for well over 200 minutes. I stopped the test so the graph would be readable but let the light run and it was still at this output when I woke up the next morning. LVP kicked in about 2.87v.

 

As with the FW3A this light works best using the ramping firmware to bring it up to the level of light you need and not more, to maximize runtime and minimize heat. Thankfully that’s easy to do with Andril.

 

UI

This light is using Toykeeper’s Anduril UI. It’s currently one of my favorites available as it has a ton of options and neat little easter eggs that commercial UI’s don’t include. By default the light comes in ramping UI which is where I left it. The ramping is fast and logical. A stepped mode is available that you can configure as well if you prefer. 

The light has thermal controls, you can configure beacon mode, as well as 5 types of strobe including candle mode, party strobe, and lightning storm. You access these with 2 taps and a hold, and then two taps to change modes inside this group. Candle and lighting mode are my personal favorite. How practical these are could be a point where one could argue, but I like that they are present and it just makes things fun. Due to how you access these strobe modes I would not call the light a tactical UI or tactical light as you have to remember a series of presses and pauses to get there. 

 

For instance 4 clicks gives you lockout, and another 4 clicks unlocks the light, or you could just unscrew the head a tiny bit. If you activate momentary, the only way to clear it is to unscrew the head to do a full reset. 6 clicks from off gives you muggle mode which limits the lights output and output for a less complicated interface. 

 

Personally I find the UI to be easy to use for what you want to do most often, but a little more complex to get to those modes you don’t use very often. This is a UI where you should take a look at the manual or at least the graphical manual for the UI and spend some time playing with your light to get the most out of it.

 

Pro’s

  • Andril Firmware
  • Great extras’s are included like the deep carry clip, and diffuser
  • Magnetic Tail
  • More Reliable, less fiddly
  • Button top cells work here in addition to flat tops but no protected batteries

 

Con’s

  • Less modifiable then the FW3A, but this means more reliability
  • Larger profile makes it a little less pocket friendly.
  • Knurling is pretty smooth and minimal

 

Conclusion

My conclusion on the Lumintop EDC18 is that this version is a version of the FW3A that’s designed a more for the mainstream consumer. It trades ultimate compactness and modality for a slight increase in size, and a little more reliability. What this means is it’s less likely to have problems out of the box but your not going to be able to modify it like what people are doing with the FW3A. It would still benefit from everyone doing a thermal sensor calibration. 

 

The biggest difference is really if you want a tail or side switch because that’s the biggest difference for me. I honestly like both. I think for EDC I prefer the feel of the FW3A in my pocket because of it’s slightly tapered body (and deep carry once I get my deep carry clip) and slightly smaller size. That said there have been times I miss having a magnet in the tail, especially when at work. So for me it’s really hard to pick just one, I don’t think either are bad choices for a compact hot rod triple light. So I would if you can get the emitter you like in both, go with where you like your switch best, FW3A for tail switch, or the Lumintop EDC18 for a side switch. 

 

Pickup the Lumintop EDC18 at Bangood for $39.90 at http://bit.ly/2MXLwjR with coupon BG18

Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro Review (Wireless, Balanced Armature. USB-C, Qi Recharging)

Soundcore (an Anker company) has a new set of higher end truly wireless earbuds with the Soundcore LIberty Pro 2. These are an upmarket product for Soundcore, and feature a balanced armature and a dynamic driver. They feature a neat case and pretty impressive battery life in my testing. Thanks to Soundcore for sending these too me to review and tell you guys about.

 

YouTube Version of this Review:

Pickup the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2Wk2sE8

 

Packaging & Accessories

Soundcore products have always had nice packaging but the Liberty Pro 2’s is above and beyond. It’s clear to me this package was designed with retail stores in mind. It’s textured in places and has a sharp eye catching design and lots of useful information to the consumer on the outside with all the stats and big features of the headphones. It’s a magnetic latch box so the consumer can look inside as well. Accessories include 3 sizes of ear wings, to help the fit in your ear, and then 3 sizes of each ear tip with duplicates of each. You also get a USB-A to USB-C cable for recharging the storage case. 

 

 

Construction

The Soundcore case is vital to the operation of these headphones as it’s how you recharge the headphones. It’s made of a soft touch plastic and the door on the top has an addictive slide mechanism. If you like to fidget with things you will find yourself sliding this back and forth. The case itself allows the headphones to turn on and off via magnetic retention. As far as recharging the case has USB-C on the back, and is able to charge on a horizontal QI charging pad. You have 3 LED’s on the front that give you  the battery status of the case. 

Battery life of the LIberty Pro 2’s is good, Anker rates it at 8 hours and at least in my testing that’s pretty accurate. I recently took these on a business trip this week and wore them for hours at a time through airports and never had them get close to 50% and even if they do get low a 10 minute recharge in the case gives you an impressive 2 hours of additional playback time. Overall the 500mAh battery in the case is good for 32 hours of playback time. Size wise the case is a little on the large size for me. In my front jeans pocket it worked but if I was in shorts or had smaller pockets I could see it being a little too big. Other brands have more compact solutions if that’s an important factor for you.

Sound Quality Comfort & Software

Soundcore has developed their own set of drivers for the Liberty Pro 2’s called the Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture.. For the mid’s and high they a customly developed Knowles (Well known in the audio industry) balanced armature combined with an 11mm dynamic driver for the lows. These are placed inside each other allowing for the sound to not have to be routed within the body of the headphones so that you have the best possible sound quality. This is a somewhat unique design that your not seeing on a ton of true wireless ear buds right not. 

Soundcore has then teamed up with 10 “Grammy Award Winning” audio producers to further tune and refine the sound profile of these headphones. Combine this with the soundcore app on your Android or Apple device and you have a choice of several audio profiles for your specific type of music. The app also has a customized hearing test where it analyzes each of your ears ability to hear a range of frequencies and builds a profile for you. See the video for how this works. 

 

So what’s my experience with these? Well as with any in ear headphone fit is key to sound quality, and I took my time here to find what works best for me, a balance of comfort, sound quality, and retention. I settled with medium sized ear wings, and small ear tips. Comfort was pretty good with this combo and fatigue after 5 hours straight was minimal. Retention was great, and I had no problem at the gym working on AMT’s and other machines, and I would feel comfortable running with these as well. 

 

Sound quality was impressive for a wireless headphone. Your music source is very important here, heavily compressed music, such as most streaming services you might not notice a difference, but I had some lossless files on my phone and on these I could tell the larger sound stage, clarity and accuracy. Bass was pretty good as well, with it being almost too powerful on some of the presets. So if you like Rap or EDM these should work pretty well for you at this price point. These do feature Bluetooth 5 asd aptX which both improve sound quality.

 

One disappointing thing is at this price point there is no audio passthrough which means for conversations you have to pause your audio and take out an ear bud to talk to someone. This proved a little frustrating in an airport until I reprogrammed the button on the top of the headphone to allow me to pause my audio.

 

These do feature Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 noise reduction technology when making calls, combine that with a total of 4 microphones and at least in my experience call quality was surprisingly good. I have read some other reviews that not everyone had the same experience I had. This is a feature I rarely use because who makes calls anyways.

 

Pro’s

  • Great Sound Quality
  • Long Battery Life
  • USB-C and Wireless recharging
  • Built in Sound profiles are good and make a difference in audio quality.

 

Con’s

  • The earbuds themselves are a little big but retention is good for me
  • Case is on the larger side
  • IPX4 Water rated, while enough for sweat
  • No passthrough audio for conversations and you must use both earbuds at the same time.

 

Conclusion

For me these are by far my best pair of wireless headphones, especially earbud style ones. Sound quality wise they live up to their price point for me. Bass was impressive, while still maintaining crisp mids and highs. Music quality matters here more than most normal headphones. You might not notice the difference on your average streaming service. I was impressed with the battery life here as well, of the headphones themselves and the case. Not many people are going to be listening for 8 continuous hours, and even if you are 10 minutes in the case gives the headphones 2 hours of use. In my travels this week I never came close to needing to recharge. 

 

These only have minor disappointments, for me the lack of passthrough audio was unfortunate at this price point as well as these are just a little big. They are not something I want to lay down with if you are laying on your side. 

 

All this said these get a solid recommend from me if you’re looking for a more high end sound, and a premium wireless ear bud for most situations to work with all your devices. 

 

Full image gallery at: https://imgur.com/a/7pH27eM

Pickup the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2Wk2sE8

Olight Seeker 2 Review and Comparison (3000 Lumens, 21700, 3x Osram LED)

Today I am taking a look at the Olight Seeker 2. Now a few months ago I looked at the Pro version of this light, the one I am looking at today is similar but has a few differences to it. If you have not seen that review I will link to it and recommend you check it out as this is going to do a lot of comparisons and contrasts rather then a full review. Thanks to Skyben trading for sending this to me to take a look at. 

 

YouTube version of this Review:

Pickup the Olight Seeker 2 from Skyben on Amazon https://amzn.to/2nZR2sC 

 

Packaging & Accessories

I will quickly touch on packaging. It’s on par with the Seeker 2 Pro, same white box with a nice photo of the light with lumen and throw specs up front. On the back you have a runtime chart and some details about the light. 

Accessories with the Seeker 2 were less then the Seeker 2 Pro. You get the light itself, the same proprietary 5000mAh Olight 21700 battery (ORB-217C50), a standard Olight Lanyard with the helpful threading needle, and then a MCCA1 charger with the standard length cable. The Pro version of the light came with everything before and the L Dock, much longer charging cable, and a holster. 

 

Construction

The construction of these two aluminum lights are very similar. Here are the major differences that I see.

  • The anodizing is different on the Seeker 2 Standard. Rather then being the hard slick finish that most aluminum lights are the Seeker 2 Standard uses a mat almost chalky anodizing. It’s very similar to what you find on Armytek lights. It marks up fairly easily but usually rubs or washes off pretty easily.
  • The Seeker 2 doesn’t have the molded silicone grips that the Seeker 2 Pro has. This isn’t a huge deal to me, at least with dry hands the different anodizing kind of makes up for it. 
  • The front side switch is different between the two. On the Seeker 2 Standard the switch is more like recent Olights, it’s a more plasticy slicker feeling. It has a hole in the center for an LED for battery status indicator. The Seeker 2 Pro has nicer feeling rubber/silicon button as well as 4 LED’s on each side for battery power indicator and brightness status indicator. While these are really nice features I have no trouble with the standard button. 

Size & Weight Comparison

Length of the Seeker 2 came in at 126mm vs the Pro’s 128mm. Diameters of the head were identical at 35.4mm, the body tube at 27mm. Both lights roll around very easily when on their sides

I was a little surprised at the weight difference between the two lights. The Seeker 2 Pro weight in with battery at 197g while the Seeker 2 standard came in at 186.5g. 

 

LED | Beamshots | Heat

The Seeker 2 Standard is using a triple configuration of Osram LED instead of the Cree XP-L HD’s used Seeker 2 Pro. Olight doesn’t give us the model of Osram used in the light unfortunately according to official literature. Tint wise the Seeker 2 Standard has a tint that’s a bit whiter especially at lower power where as the Seeker 2 Pro is a little warmer/rosy tint. Beam pattern on the Seeker standard has a more defined hotspot and appears to be more focused. 

Seeker 2 on the left

Seeker 2 tint

Seeker 2 on left, Seeker 2 on Right

 

Runtimes on the Seeker 2 are also longer due to the different LED. Total runtime was more then 250 minutes for the Seeker 2 Standard. Turbo seemed to last slightly longer as well. The Seeker standard ran in high for just past 100 minutes, very similar to the Pro, but then it saw 2 pretty major decreases in the next 50 minutes but then ran on low power that was usable for over that 250 minutes mark. The slight differences in output are not that noticeable and I will trade it for more runtime. LVP kicked in at 2.958V

 

Outputs are listed as the same for all modes except turbo with the differences being only 200 lumens.

Moonlight  – 5 Lumens

Low – 50 Lumens

Medium 300 Lumens

High 1200 Lumens then 600

Turbo 3000 Lumens then 600

 

UI

UI on the Seeker 2 Standard is is very similar to other Olights and the same as the Seeker 2 Pro, and that’s great because it’s a simple UI that I like. From off if you long press on the button the light comes on in moonlight, which on this light is a little bright for my liking. When the light is on it starts in low, and then you can hold the button and it will cycle from lowest to brightest, just stop on where you want to be. The light does have memory mode for low through high. For tubo just double click and for strobe just tipple click. The light also features a lockout mode and timer that’s available.

 

Recharging

Recharging is pretty much the exact same as the Seeker 2 Pro. The Seeker 2 Standard is using Olights MCC1AL magnetic charging system..  observed maximum charging speed of .9A which resulted in a total overall charge time of 6.5 hours for the 5000mAh 21700 battery. This is a pretty slow, very conservative charging speed for such a large cell. Good for the overall lifespan of the cell if you can wait but Olight’s competitors lights that are using the same battery are generally charging at 2A which is plenty safe for this battery. The battery stopped charging at 4.135v.

 

Pro’s

  • More affordable without much sacrifice of features.
  • Increase in runtime and throw with the Osram LED
  • Relatively small sized light for a 21700 battery
  • Triple LED lights continue to go mainstream in 2019

 

Con’s 

  • 1A charging is pretty slow on a 5000mAh battery. 2A is still under 1C charging speed for this battery and what this lights competition is all doing.
  • No Change in the magnet, it’s still relatively weak only really sufficient for charging or holding the light perfectly horizontal.
  • No official word on exactly which LED is being used here, just the manufacturer is given.

 

Conclusion

The Seeker 2 is extremely similar to it’s Twin brother the Seeker 2 Pro. The 200 lumens difference in peak performance on turbo isn’t significantly different to the eye. The other physical differences are fairly minor or not deal breakers for me. 

 

Olights proprietary batteries like other manufactures branded cells tend to be pretty expensive and while I love the 21700 format, it’s proprietary nature and cost ends up being a negative for me. Luckily you should be able to use a standard button top 21700 and a small magnet if you want a less expensive second battery option and are ok with charging on an external charger. 

 

Personally my recommendation would be to go with the standard Seeker 2 here, and save the roughly $30 difference. While I like the rubber grip and battery and power level indicators I don’t think those two things are significant enough to warrant the price, thus making the Seeker 2 the better overall buy. With that $30 you could easily buy another battery for the light. Overall the Seeker 2 is a pretty good light and a better value then the Seeker 2 Pro in my opinion. 

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/g1BXxQn

Pickup the Olight Seeker 2 from Skyben on Amazon https://amzn.to/2nZR2sC 

Sofirn SP40 Review (Best Budget 18650 Headlamp of 2019)

Today I have a review of the Sofirn SP40 budget headlamp. Sofirn continues to bring out affordable products and take feedback seriously. I have had this one for a while and have been using it for various things around the house. Thanks to them for sending this to me to take a look at review on the channel. Let’s take a closer look at it. 

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/BiBuETc

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YouTube Version of this Review: 

 

Packaging & Accessories

Sofirn’s packaging is very basic and I am ok with this as more money is going to the product and accessories then the packaging. Inside the basic brown cardboard box the light is protected with some foam and bubble wrap. Included accessories are the headlamp itself with the Sofirn branded 3000mAh 18650 battery preinstalled, pocket clip, 18350 tube, headband, and spare orings.

Construction

The light is made from anodized aluminium. Machine and finish are good for the price range here. The tail is flat, and non magnetic. The light comes into 3 pieces with the other spare body tube being the 4th. There is standard diamond knurling on the tail cap as well as the body. It’s a little more on the aggressive side and I expect it will pick up dirt over time. 

The headband is a 3 piece design, and while functional, the straps do feel a bit more lightweight and thinner then other headbands I have from Olight, Armytek, and Klarus. That said this light is a lot less expensive. The headband has 2 silicone loops in front to slip the light into. On the 18650 tube there are 2 areas milled in without knurling where these rest. For the 18350 tube you kind of just have to make it work, and for me the loops ended up sitting on the knurls. There is also a press on friction fit pocket clip thats included on the light. With the 18650 tube it can be oriented either direction. With a head up carry a lot of the light sticks up from you pocket so a head down would be the only way for me. On the 18350 tube the clip really only fits on in one direction to remain on the light. This isn’t my favorite EDC because of how it carries but I am glad they at least include it. One last thing to note is that you should remove the clip prior to putting on the head strap. 

The head is fairly flat but with rounded corners on the emitter side. The rear is rounded and there is minimal milling for heat and weight dissipation on the sides. The USB charging port is opposite and below the emitter but still on the head. ON top is the button for controlling the light, as well as being a charger status indicator. Red is charging, green is charged. It’s a clicky e switch covered with a translucent silicone cover. 

 

Size/Weight and Comparisons

I measured Length at 107mm, Body Width at 22mm and maximum head width at 27mm. 

Weight with the included battery is 105.4g, with the headband and battery it’s 141g. 

The Sofirn SP40 looks like other headlamps we have seen for the most part. Today I am going to do some quick comparisons with the Armytek Elf C2 I have here because it’s one of my favorites, is similar sized, and has USB recharging onboard. Length wise the Elf C2 is a bit longer but it’s tail is magnetic. It’s head is also a little wider, probably due to the button being on the side instead of  the top. The clip is a lot better for EDC in my opinion and is heads up, vs the SP40 would be best as a tail down carry. Both fit in their respective headbands in a similar way. 

LED/Beamshots/Heat/Runtime

The SP40 is using a XP-L LED in cool white but not super cool tint. I would guess something like 6000k. While I wish it was a neutral white this is ok for the price. The beam is pretty standard, with no major artifacts. ItThe reflector has orange peel and the lens is clear anti reflective coated. Since it doesn’t have a diffuser or TIR optic it does have a hot spot in the center and isn’t super even. The light does have PWM and I don’t notice it on any of the modes. 

Heat here isn’t too bad. During my runtime tests I measured the light at several intervals and found the following temps. 1 minute was 93F, 5 minutes was 115F, and 10 minutes was 111F. 

Official output is listed at the following

Low – 5 lumens

Medium – 90 lumens

High – 450 lumens

Turbo – 1200 lumens

 

UI

The UI is pretty simple, and straight down to business. From off and you turn it on and the light starts on low, if you long press while the light is on it will move up to the next brightest mode. If you hold it down the light will cycle between low, medium, and high. The light won’t go into turbo without a double click while on. The light does have memory for all modes except turbo. Lastly there are no blinking modes. 

 

Recharging

The light does have onboard micro USB charging on the head. From an empty cell at 2.76V where LVP kicks in, I charged the light to full in 4.8 hours at an average of 0.9A. This is an acceptable charge rate, and should be safe for any 18650 that’s installed inside, but you won’t be winning any charging races here. For an 18650 it’s safe but probably a little higher then I want to charge mine at typically. I have no complaints with the included 3000mAh Sofirn branded 18650 battery.

Pro

  • Great included accessories including the 18350 tube and 18650 battery
  • Fantastic value for what your getting with the kit, including the battery, USB recharging, etc

 

Con’s

  • Head Strap is a bit thinner than other brands.
  • Current regulation isn’t the best.
  • No tint choice available.

 

Conclusion

For the price, flexibility, and fast shipping if purchased from Amazon, I am not sure if there is a better value 18650 headlamp available for less money that includes USB charging. There are other headlamps I rate as overall better, but their prices are significantly more. The Sofirn SP40 provides a good amount of working light for most jobs in most situations, has onboard charging for convenience, and includes optional extras like the 18350 tube instead of making them an optional extra. This would be a good option for someone looking to grab a bunch of headlamps for work, or to loan out, or give as gifts as it’s a complete kit and easy to use.

Headlamps are something I think everyone should have as they are extremely useful around the house, and anywhere you are working on something where 2 hands are preferred. If none of that applies to you, this still makes a decent right angle EDC in the pocket too.

Get the Sofirn SP40 for $23.19 by using code D3BUSFJM at https://amzn.to/2ZrEY44

Astrolux TP01 Review (Tactical Pen, Titanium, Parker Refill)

Today I have something a little different from my typical flashlight or electronic review in a writing pen from Astrolux the TP01. This is Astrolux’s first pen on the market and it’s available in titanium and aluminum, so let’s take a look and see how they did. Thanks to Banggood for sending this one to me to review. I will have a link with a discount available in the description below.

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/myDFRhi

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YouTube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

The Astrolux TP01 pen is packaged much like recent flashlights from Astrolux, in a white cardboard box with silver foil on the front. On the side is a sticker showing which version you received. Inside the pen was nicely protected in foam. Included was a bag of accessories which included a T6 torx wrench for the clip screws, and a small Allen key for the interior set pin. You get a set of extra screws and an extra set screw, as well as an extra spring for the pen. You also get a little pouch which has faux leather on one side and then a wool/felt front side and a snap to keep it closed. I have been using this since the clip isn’t the best.

One quick note is that Astrolux does sell a holder for this pen to display it on your desk. But the price is quite high, only about $10 less then the aluminum version of this pen. 

 

Construction

The Astrolux TP01 pen comes in 3 material choices. The one I have here in front of me is an anodized titanium in the wave pattern, but it’s also available in stainless steel, and anodized aluminum. The titanium comes in a raw, and then 2 colors as well. What I have here is the wave pattern which I just love. It looks like a heat anodized mokuti pattern but is indeed flat. It has blues, purples and a little bronze in it. It does a good job of breaking up finger prints pretty well.

The body is 8 sided, with the corners rounded in the center of the body, at the tip in the grip area it comes down into 4 flats that kind of pinch inwards and then back into 8 sides for the tip. This anodized pattern really does a good job of making that all blend in.

The bolt itself is a rectangle with 3 lines of jimping on it to provide some grip. I will talk more about how it functions later on.

 

The clip is the last area I want to talk about on this pen. It’s attached with 2 T6 screws, on mine it doesn’t make contact with the body. My big problem with the clip is how little area is milled out from the body. The result is a clip that has trouble attaching to anything but the absolute thinnest material. If you use a front pocket in a shirt this would work, but anything else thats thicker then it just doesn’t have the clearance. For me this is the biggest draw back of this pen and the ability to EDC it. 

Demonstrate Disassembly

Disassembly on this pen requires tools  but easy enough after you have done it. To disassemble you will need a T5 and T6 torx bits/wrench. Astrolux includes a pair of these in the box which is nice, or you can use your own like I am here. First step is to take the pen top off. Inside is the very small hex set pin which fits a T5 bit, which once unscrewed allows the bolt to come out of the side of the pen (Flat spot facing up), when then allows the carrier, cartridge, and spring to come out the rear. 

Reassembly is the opposite, place the spring on the cartridge and into the body. Then place the bolt in taking care to orient the hole for the handle to face the milled slot. Place the handle in with the flat facing up, and then screw in the set pin tight. 

 

The clip uses T6 screws, lucky a small T6 torx wrench is included with the pen. The clip is not required to be removed for the cartridge to be changed.

 

Size and Weight

Length I measured at 119mm, diameter at 11mm. Weight with the cartridge is 33.6g. This is a little shorter then your standard pen. A Pilot G2 is 143mm tip to tip. The shorter length doesn’t bother me on this one.

For comparison on weight, my Brass TiScribe Bolt with cartridge is 34.9g, and my Nitecore NTP30 also in titanium is 28.8g. So the Astrolux TP01 even being made of titanium is a heavy compared with the nicer bolt action pens I have.

Feel in the Hand

So how is the bolt action on this pen? At first I wasn’t super impressed with it but it’s grown on me. The tolerances on this isn’t as tight as either of my other bolt action pens, but the price here is a lot less as well. The result of that increase in tolerances is you get some more noise in the body. The downwards stroke takes a bit more resistance and when you release it, it’s a little more violent to slam to the shut position. As it’s broken in this has improved.

 

As for in the hand, the 4 flats on the grip area of the pen is a little weird for how I grip a pen with 3 fingers. It’s not uncomfortable but not as good as a round or triangle shape either. It’s perfectly fine for an hour or two meetings, but not something I would want to write with all day. 

How it writes

The pen cartridge it comes with is a pretty generic medium tip ball point pen cartridge. It’s not bad, but not great either. I have been using it at work to take notes for a couple of weeks and it does the job just fine but isn’t special. The good news is that it does take Parker style refills so you can put in something better if you want to, and sourcing refills is easy as long as you don’t lose your torx drivers that are required to change it. 

 

Pro’s

  • Pretty affordable especially in aluminum.
  • Uses a common Parker style refill
  • Beautiful anodizing on the 2 anodized titanium models

 

Con’s 

  • Pocket clip has basically no clearance for any material. 
  • Disassembly requires tools and is somewhat complex. 
  • 4 sided grip area isn’t as nice as a 3 sided or round grip.There isn’t any grip or texturing present.

 

Conclusion

If you were looking for an inexpensive bolt action pen to try out, and wanted something that took a standard cartridge that was easy to get your hands on this is a good choice of pens to get started. I love that Astrolux decided to make this pen in 3 different materials at 3 different price points. It allows everyone to try a nicer pen at any price standpoint. I am a big titanium fan so that’s what I went with on this one, and the anodizing is beautiful, but I think the best bang for the buck is one of the aluminum options. Definitely make sure you check the links below and check these out on Banggods website. 

 

If you have enjoyed my first pen review, please let me know in the comments below. I have a couple of other pens that I could review in the future such as my Nitecore NTP30 or USG TiScribe in brass. 

 

Save 24% on the Astrolux TP01 Titanium Bolt Pen at http://bit.ly/2yILZ1r with code: BGATTBA (24%off) 

Fireflies E07 Review (7 LED + Secondary LEDs, 21700, up to 6900 lumens)

Fireflies is a newer flashlight brand to the market that’s bring multiple emitter option lights with secondary LED’s to the market. Today I am looking at the E07 a 7x LED light with secondary emitter running Toykeepers Anduril UI. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at and review. Make sure you see the bottom of the post for the discount that’s been provided on this light.

 

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Packaging

The light comes packaged in a black cardboard box with fireflies logo embossed on it. There is a sticker on the side with the lights specs handwritten in. Inside the light is protected in foam. Extras include 2 spare orings, a wrist lanyard with clip that connects at the head, a pocket clip that connects at the tail only, a nice adapter to allow you to run an 18650 battery, and a nice manual that’s not micro sized. The manual is really nice for a newer brand, it mostly goes over the UI and has the diagram many of us are familiar with, but also a kind of quick start guide on the back for specific tasks. 

Construction

Fireflies offers 4 body colors available and of those Banggood is currently carrying 3 of them. A Matte black, desert yellow which  is a more yellow tan, and a gun gray, which is what I have here. Branding on the light is minimal with only a heat warning, model number and manufacture on the light body. On the tail cap there is a bit of minimal required marks and a serial number. The tail cap is flat and allows the light to tail stand nicely. It has a few flats to allow you to unscrew it more easily. Inside you have a low resistance spring mounted to the circuit board. Threads were dry and rather shallow but square cut. 

The pocket clip only attaches at the rear and is kind of short. Overall diameter of this light isn’t too bad, it’s front pocketable as an EDC but on the bigger side for that. Retention with the clip is good but I do wish it carried a bit deeper. The body tube has square nub milling on it, kind of like a small frag design. I like this, it’s grippe but not aggressive. Threads on the head side of the body tube are anodized, very fine, ACME cut, and also dry. 

 

The head itself is pretty small, and grows in diameter to accommodate the 7 emitters + secondary LED’s inside. Inside the spring in the head is short, and fairly heavy gauge wire. It has a blob of solder that’s been filed down to I presume help improve contact. On the outside there is heatsinking. The electronic button on the side has 4 LED’s underneath that can indicate a few things depending on the mode. The color of these LED’s is the same as the secondary on your light. 

The circuit boards in the head of this light is a bit non traditional for a flashlight, The white emitters and secondary emitters are actually on separate circuit boards that are stacked on top of each other with wires hand soldered on to connect the two boards. There are 3 pots that allow you adjust the intensity of the secondary. I was unable to find a screwdriver to fit mine to a point I was comfortable adjusting them though. The front bezel is a polished stainless steel. It’s easy to unscrew the front bezel as it’s not glued on. Underneath is the glass lens and optic. Overall build quality is pretty good for this price range of light. 

Size/Weight/Comparisons

I measured the length at 114mm, maximum diameter at the head at 37mm, and minimum diameter on the center body section at 25mm. Weight with the Sofrin 21700 battery is 187.6g. 

I compared the light to the Emmisar D4, because it’s pretty common multi emitter light, even though it uses a 18650 and the E07 uses a 21700. The D4 is shorter, obviously, and the head is smaller, but the body tube is pretty similar. Both are high performance affordable lights with great UI’s by Toykeeper and in mine both are using the Nichia LEDs. 

 

LED | Beamshots | Heat | Runtime

My light is using 7x Nichia 219B R9080 LEDs for it’s primary emitter. This is one of my favorites not only because it has 98 CRI but also because it produces a good amount of red meaning colors are more realistic. The downside is this Nichia LED’s isn’t the most efficient around and produces the least amount of lumens (3500) then the SST20 (4500 Lumens) or XPL-HI LED (6900 Lumens) that the light are also available with. This is really nice that you have 6 emitter and tint options with this light in addition to it’s 4 body colors. That also said the Nichia 219B are the most sensitive to being over driven with the FET in this light, so choice of battery is important. 

 

On my light the secondary emitters are purple, other colors fireflies sells are red and blue. The secondaries do shut off when low voltage protection kicks in at 2.935V, but the LED’s on the switch do not. For this reason if you are not going to use the light for a long time, it would be best to mechanically lock it out with a slight twist of the tail cap or remove the battery. 

Heat is a big thing on this light. It’s a small compact size and can output a ton of light. The fact that I have the Nichia emitters on my example here doesn’t help the heat issue. On turbo the light heats up very quickly, in under 2 minutes I was seeing temps of 61C (142F) on the head opposite the button. This kind of proves to be a problem as you need some resistance to click the button and turn it off or down. Thermals do spread out on the light relatively well, the body tube tail cap remain cool enough to handle when in turbo. For me this is too hot to hold comfortably. Lucky you can configure thermals on this light in the UI, so I might be turning it down a bit. 

 

Ruintime

Runtime on the Fireflies E07 is 100% temperature dependent. Turbo by itself is good for less then a minute before step down due to heat. Your actual runtimes do vary up and down between roughly 25% and 50% as you can see on my graph for just over 100 minutes. At this point the light goes into it’s lowest mode due to the battery voltage for the remaining 150 minutes. Low voltage protection kicks in 2.935V.

 

Batteries

I am using some Sofirn 21700 batteries that Banggood sent out with this light. Being a FET powered light you want usually high drain, but in this application a medium drain cell is good especially for these Nichia LED’s as they are a little more sensitive to being over driven. The Sofirns fit that nicely, they are listed at 4000mAh and I measured them at a capacity of 3868mAh and 3861mAh respectively on my Xtar VC4s.

UI

This light is using Toykeeper’s Anduril UI. It’s currently one of my favorites available as it has a ton of options and neat little easter eggs that commercial UI’s don’t include. By default the light comes in ramping UI which is where I left it. The ramping is fast and logical. A stepped mode is a vailable that you can configure as well if you prefer. The light has thermal controls, you can configure beacon mode, as well as 5 types of strobe including candle mode, party strobe, and lightning storm. How practical these are could be a point where one could argue, but I like that they are present and it just makes things fun. One of the neat thing the UI has is sunset mode, which allows the light to run in and slowly fade out over I believe a 30 minute time period then shut off. Overall just about anything you want to do is in this UI and it’s’ a great choice for a light. 

Pro

  • Big lumen flood light with great emitters.
  • Always on secondary that can be toggled off via UI. The secondary is adjustable internally. 
  • 3 body color and 6 emitter options available (from Banggood), so something for almost everyone without mods.
  • 21700 battery – Provides a bit more runtime, and a nice size for the head.
  • Early QC issues seem to have been fixed on this light.

 

Con

  • Early models had some QC problems, I have run mine quite a bit and have not had issues with it so far.
  • Heat – 7 Nichia emitters make a lot of collective heat

 

Conclusion

The Fireflies E07 packs a ton of features for well under $100. So many emitter options, as well as body options allows you to really find the perfect combination for you. While I love the 98 CRI Nichia 219B emitter in my light you might choose one of  the others that offers more lumens. The biggest downside to this light is probably the heat, but you expect that in a small form factor light that has 7 main emitters. I do like that they went with a 21700 battery here over an 18650 for a bit more runtime without going with a larger 26650. Overall it’s a high value light that I recommend for the flashaholic. 

 

Banggood has provided a coupon to allow you to get the Fireflies E07 at a better then list price. I will have the details for that in the comments below. Make sure to give that link a click and check it out.

 

As always I think you for watching this video. If you are not subscribed to my channel I would appreciate you do so, make sure you like and share this video with anyone who you might think would be interested in it. See you on the next gear review video! 

 

Discounts

Fireflies E07 7x Nichia/XPL/SST20 Flashlight: Save 15% with code: BGFFBD at http://bit.ly/2JlGoUX  

2X Sofirn 21700 Batteries: $11.39 with code BGREC at http://bit.ly/2FYtuKk